• 24-MAR-2015

Wild night in the Southern Ocean - 3 Chinese gybes and one near wipe-out

Four of the six Volvo Ocean Race boats suffered big hits as the Southern Ocean gave the fleet its roughest ride of the race in 12 dramatic hours.

Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) and MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) did Chinese gybes* from Monday to Tuesday but all three crews escaped injury despite the boats toppling over.

Damage was still being assessed in the aftermath of the incidents although Dongfeng Race Team appeared to have avoided any serious problems with the boat.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) also endured a drama-filled night, reporting a "night of two gybes: a wild one in pitch black with a massive wipe-out and then a 'controlled' one at 30 knots".

Dongfeng Race Team were first to reveal a Chinese gybe, with their Onboard Reporter Yann Riou (FRA) reporting: "It took two to three hours to sort out the mess, the boat was on her side, we took 300 litres of water in to the boat through an air vent."

Then Team SCA were similarly upended at around 0500 UTC, the all-women team's Onboard Reporter, Anna-Lena Elled (SWE), reported. "We ended up on the side for maybe two to four minutes before slowly getting back in the right position," she told Race HQ. The crew was assessing the damage and already starting to effect some repairs, Elled continued.

MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) also reported a third Chinese gybe, which happened around 2000 UTC. There was no immediate news from the Spanish boat regarding damage.

All four boats were still able to continue sailing.

The Emirati boat still recovered to move within eight nautical miles (nm) of leaders Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) with MAPFRE in third, 26nm further adrift. Team SCA lost 38nm with their struggles to fall 97.9nm behind the leaders (see panel above).


  • Marie Laurens
    Volvo Ocean Race News Distribution Manager